Helen Brown wasn't a cat person, but her nine-year-old son Sam was. So when Sam heard a woman telling his mum that her cat had just had kittens, Sam pleaded to go and see them.
Helen's heart melted as Sam held one of the kittens in his hands with a look of total adoration. In a trice the deal was done - the kitten would be delivered when she was big enough to leave her mother.
A week later, Sam was dead. Not long after, a little black kitten was delivered to the grieving family. Totally traumatised by Sam's death, Helen had forgotten all about the new arrival. After all, that was back in another universe when Sam was alive.
Helen was ready to send the kitten back, but Sam's younger brother wanted to keep her, identifying with the tiny black kitten who'd also lost her brothers. When Rob stroked her fur, it was the first time Helen had seen him smile since Sam's death. There was no choice: the kitten - dubbed Cleo - had to stay.
Kitten or not, there seemed no hope of becoming a normal family. But Cleo's zest for life slowly taught the traumatised family to laugh. She went on to become the uppity high priestess of Helen's household, vetoing her new men, terrifying visiting dogs and building a special bond with Rob, his sister Lydia, Helen - and later a baby daughter.
My Rating: 5/5
As I have stated on this blog before, I don't read too many memoir's of non-sporting personalities. However, I decided to read this because of its inclusion on the 2010 50 Books You Can't Put Down list which I am seriously behind in completing.
This book was published in 2009 and so I think it is clear that it was probably influenced by Marley and Me. The two are very similar, this obviously being the cat version.
I liked this book more than Marley and Me which surprised me a lot as I am definitely a dog person. I felt like this book had a lot more emotion and depth.
I really liked how as a reader you get to experience the journey of not only the cat Cleo but also a great bunch of real people who go through an unimaginable trauma.
This was a very honest portrayal of loss and amazing impact a pet can have on a family, even one as damaged as this one.